Plasmonic metal/graphene oxide hybrid structures driven by either solar light or laser exhibit strong absorption and multiple functions to realize photothermal therapy, surface enhancement Raman scattering, and solar steam generation. We decorated graphene oxide (GO) by gold nanorods, forming a plasmonic nanofluid with strong optical absorption and enhanced solar steam generation performance. GO nanosheets were modified by using glucose as an environment-friendly ligand and stabilizer in the Au-GO dispersion. The Au-GO dispersions showed an increased absorption in a broad band reaching near infrared region. Owing to the coupling effects between Au NRs and GO NSs, and 2D platform for localized heating, water evaporation can be accelerated by Au-GO dispersions. The solar steam generation efficiency reached 84.1% under 1 kW m−2 illumination, about 20% enhancement compared with GO dispersion alone. This work shows the feasibility of the approach with functionalized nanofluids for efficient solar energy harvesting and utilization.
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